For a title you might not have heard much about, this is a surprisingly fun action-heavy role-playing game (RPG) that delivers without a ton of complexity or overwhelming difficulty. While it might not have the combat depth, branching storylines or expansive world as other games in this genre, Chronos: Before the Ashes also doesn't contain a lot of the content that might concern parents from these titles. The game features many of the similar environments and fantastical enemies found in Remnant, which might please fans of the original game, but on the flipside might disappoint those looking for an entirely fresh approach. The developers recycled some -- but not all -- of its atmospheric Remnant game, and could have added a few extra unique and fresh ideas into the mix.
The real-time combat is pretty straightforward and you'll learn the nuances of each choice, such as a staff that favors speed and an axe that delivers more power. You can use your shield defensively (parrying, blocking), master chained attacks, practice dodges, and aim to shrink your enemy's health score. Magic stones also can give you temporary effects such as invincibility or miniaturization, while boss battles often require you to study behavior and apply tactics to win the fight. While a bit repetitive, levels are also well-designed, reducing the need to backtrack to leave an area. Like many other RPGs, you'll level up and spend points to upgrade your stats. But what's unique is growing a year older every time you perish in this game, which will change your attributes over time, which is a great idea. While the graphics and music aren't much to write home about, but the lighting is well done, adding ambience to the action. Chronos: Before the Ashes might not be on many Top 10 games lists this year, but it's a fun and frenetic game that fuses action, role-playing, and adventure.